Nebraska earned middling grade nationally for transparent and inclusive process
LINCOLN, NE — Today, Common Cause, the leading anti-gerrymandering group, published a report grading the redistricting process in all 50 states from the view of the community. The comprehensive report evaluates public access, outreach, and education in each state based on an analysis of more than 120 detailed surveys and more than 60 interviews.
Nebraska earned a C+. The report found that while Nebraska’s hyperpartisanship created an environment for unfair maps, the activism and advocacy of communities of color resulted in the changes to voting maps that kept communities whole. However, despite said wins, they came only as a result of a large, sustained effort that forced legislators’ hands, as the Unicameral’s original maps were drawn poorly.
“After a close look at all 50 states, this report shows more community voices produce better maps,” said Dan Vicuña, Common Cause national redistricting director. “When everyone can meaningfully participate and have their input reflected in the final maps, that’s how we achieve fair elections voters can trust. We found voting districts that prioritize community interests are the gateway to elections that lead to strong schools, a fair economy, and affordable healthcare.”
Common Cause graded each state for its state level redistricting. Some states received a second grade for their local redistricting process in cases where advocates provided data. Each interview and survey asked participants about the accessibility of the process, the role of community groups, the organizing landscape, and the use of communities of interest criteria.
“Redistricting is only successful when people have influence over their voting districts,” said Gavin Geis, executive director of Common Cause Nebraska. “However, too many leaders in Nebraska have prioritized their own interests over the will of the people, which is reflected in our grade. In fact, if it wasn’t for the organizing of Black, Native American and Latino communities across the state, our current maps would be even less reflective of Nebraska demographics. Other states have shown that there are solutions to these shortcomings and we intend to work to bring needed reform to Nebraska voters.”
Common Cause found the most powerful reform is independent, citizen-led commissions where voters—rather than elected officials—administer the process and hold the power of the pen to draw maps. Independent commissioners were found to be more interested in fair representation and community input— rather than electability or party control.
The report was authored by Common Cause, Fair Count, State Voices, and the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
The report was published in collaboration with the Coalition Hub for Advancing Redistricting and Grassroots Engagement (CHARGE), which includes Common Cause, Fair Count, League of Women Voters, Mia Familia Vota, NAACP, NCAI, State Voices, APIAVote, and the Center for Popular Democracy.
To view the report online, click here.